I don't even know where to start describing my day yesterday. It was my favourite day by far since I've begun my trip.
Virginia and I woke up early and decided to take the ATVs we rented the day before and take them to find breakfast. We found this cute cafe and i ordered the best omlette with strawberry juice to drink. I LOVE strawberry juice! It was then that i decided it would be a great day! The sun was shining and it was about 26 degrees. After that we were walking around the town and spotted a gelato shop... naturally i had to have some even though i had just eaten breakfast. I had a flavour that was cream with baklava. Probably the best ice cream i've ever had!
We drove around and explored the island for about 2 hours on our ATVs. We found this gorgeous beach with black sand and huge rock cliffs. We kept stopping every few minutes to take pictures and soak in the views. We ended our drive at the top of the island where there was a gorgeous view of the sea and the volcano.
After that I drove back to my hotel because i had a skype date with my parents. Although skype was being difficult it was really nice to get to talk to them. My internet connections have been terrible most places i've been but Santorini was great so i figured i should take advantage of it while i could. I didn't get to tell dad that i was homesick yet... only that i'm having alot of fun.
They day before we booked a catamaran cruise that left at 3pm and ended with watching the sunset over the water. It took us past the red beach, white beach, and black rock that's made completely from lava when the volcano exploded. The boat took us around the volcano and stopped at the hot springs. The trip there we sat on the front of the boat as we went over all the waves and basically got soaked! It was hot out and the water felt kind of nice and made my body all salty once the water dried. That was probably the best moment of my day... just sailing across the sea with Santorini to one side, water as far as i could see to the over side, and the sun high in the sky making the water and waves sparkle. I probably described that in the worst way but it was so beautiful!
Embarrassing story for the day: As most of you know... i can't really swim. At all. So when we pull up to the hot springs, the lady working on the boat informs me that we have to swim to get to the hot springs. Obviously this is a bit of an issue for me so i ask if she has a floaty device. (I need to grow up and just learn to swim already) I was kind of expecting one of those cute rings that would go around my stomach and keep me afloat... or even a life jacket. Instead i got the most awkward and way too small for me kind of thing that slipped over my head and basically just strangled me to death the entire time i was in the water. Not only did i find it hard to move my arms with this stupid thing on, but it was way too small so kept trying to pop off over my head. I hopped in the water, which was cold, and tried to swim... it took me as least double the time as everyone else to actually make it to the hot springs. Which, by the way, i think were falsely advertised... they were more like mostly-cold-but-sometimes-there's-a-warm-spot springs. After i awkwardly shivered my way around for a while they were calling us back to the boat. Poor virginia tried to drag me back so i made it in time while the majority of the boat that was parked next to us watched me. They were probably wondering why an adult such as myself not only needed a floaty but why it didn't help me swim any better. Moral of the story... i'm embarrassing. BUT i'm glad i did it... when else can i say that i "swam" through volcanic "hot springs"?
After we got back on the boat, we drove to this little cove and parked it for some snorkelling and dinner. I decided not to snorkel... my earlier romp in the sea was enough water ambition for one day. Dinner was incredible! They barbequed on the boat and gave us chicken, kebab sausage, calamari and the kind of shrimp that still looked like shrimp. We also had bread with tzatziki and eggplant salad for dipping and greek salad. I actually tried one of the shrimp and thought it tasted really good! However, i got someone else to pull the head off and peel the skin and legs away because that really grossed me out. After dinner we sailed back to the port and watched the sunset from the back of the boat.
From start to finish that was probably my best day yet. I now understand why people say that Santorini is so beautiful. When we first arrived i thought it was only average... the streets were kind of dirty around where we were staying and the hotel was probably the least nice out of the ones we have stayed in so far. I'm so glad we decided to rent ATVs because then i was able to see way more and actually discover why people say that Santorini is the most beautiful island. The boat ride was definitely a perfect finish to the end of my trip through Greece... i couldn't have asked for a better day.
As far as my goals for Santorini... i pretty much failed all across the board.
- I saw the volcano but didn't get to touch it
- I didn't get to rent a donkey because i never even saw one besides the few i saw following a man down the street... none of them offering rides to tourists
- I never had a mud bath because i never found any mud
- I didn't really get that much sun because it was cloudy and hazy for my first 2 days
- But i DID do laundry and thus have stopped scratching myself :) I guess that's something to be proud of! I took my clothes to the laundromat and they did everything for me. Even shrunk a few of my clothes (grrr)... but folded everything, even my underwear, which was a nice little treat.
Now i'm on my way back to Athens to organize my next week. Virginia and I looked into the rest of our Greece trip and basically decided that it was going to be way too expensive for what was going to turn into only a 4 day trip. So, we have decided to continue on together to Italy. I think our first stop will be Venice. All i have to say is... look out pasta and gelato, i'm coming for you!